WH Smith reports better than expected Christmas trading
WH Smith has said its Christmas trading performance was better than expected despite reduced footfall due to Covid-19 restrictions.
In a trading update covering the 20 weeks to 16 January, the book and stationery retailer said total group revenue came in at 59% of 2019 revenue for the period. While its high street stores delivered revenue at 87% of the same period in 2019, the retailer’s travel business, which operates stores at airports and railways stations, could only achieve 37% of the 2019 level.
The retailer said its Funky Pigeon, Cult Pens and WH Smith online businesses all performed well with sales significantly ahead of the prior year.
WH Smith group chief executive Carl Cowling said: “ Covid-19 continues to have a significant impact on the WH Smith Group, however we are pleased with our performance over the Christmas period which was better than anticipated.
“We generated cash during November and December and ended December with a stronger cash position than anticipated with liquidity of £90 millio, which is materially ahead of our original plan.
“We remain well placed to navigate our way through this ongoing period of uncertainty and benefit from the recovery of our key markets in due course.”
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